Children’s cultural life has always been actively supported in Moscow. Powerful traditions, rich history, and lots of talented, truly dedicated people—these magical ingredients yield an unbelievably wide array of children’s theatres and circuses available to Moscow tourists. You can please your child with a beautiful performance virtually in any part of the city. The most famous places include the Obraztsov Puppet TheatreRussian: Teatr kukol imeni S. V. Obraztsova or Театр кукол имени С. В. Образцова, the Natalya Sats Musical TheaterRussian: Muzykal’ny teatr imeni N. I. Sats or Музыкальный театр имени Н. И. Сац, the Russian Academic Youth TheatreRussian: Rossiyskiy akademicheskiy molodezhny teatr or Российский академический молодежный театр, the Moscow Young Generation TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy Teatr yunogo zritelya or Московский театр юного зрителя, The Old Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, or Nikulin CircusRussian: Moskovskiy tsirk Nikulina na Tsvetnom bul’vare or Московский цирк Никулина на Цветном бульваре, the Moscow State CircusRussian: Bol’shoy gosudarstvenny moskovskiy tsirk or Большой государственный московский цирк, etc.
There are a dozen puppet theatres in Moscow, of which the Obraztsov Puppet Theatre is the most renowned. It is situated in the Garden RingRussian: Sadovoe kol’tso or Садовое кольцо, not far from the Nikulin Circus, in the very centre of the capital. Its repertoire involves benchmarks of puppet art, first staged by Sergey Obraztsov himself—An Unusual ConcertRussian: Neobyknovenny kontsert or Необыкновенный концерт, Wish upon a PikeRussian: Po shchuchyemu velenyu or По щучьему веленью, Aladdin’s Magic LampRussian: Volshebnaya lampa Aladdina or Волшебная лампа Аладдина—as well as new productions, not only for children but also for senior school students and even adults, e.g. The Mad Day, or The Marriage of FigaroRussian: Bezumny den’, ili Zhenit’ba Figaro or Безумный день, или Женитьба Фигаро, Someone NoseRussian: Nekto Nos or Некто Нос, or Don QuixoteRussian: Don Kikhot or Дон Кихот.
Great popularity is enjoyed by the Moscow Puppet Theatre located by the BaumanskayaRussian: Бауманская metro station, a 30-minute drive from the city centre. It was founded at about the same time as the Obraztsov Theatre, or just a little earlier. Its repertoire offers classical puppet performances (MoydodyrRussian: Мойдодыр, CipollinoRussian: Чиполлино, The Fur Will FlyRussian: Klochki po zakoulochkam or Клочки позакоулочкам), musical plays, and shows involving actors, without puppets. Experimental theatre is also a trend here; for instance, spectators watch May NightRussian: Mayskaya noch’ or Майская ночь with their eyes closed, listening, smelling, and even tasting.
The Volshebnaya Lampa
The Volshebnaya Lampa (Magic Lamp) Moscow Puppet TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy teatr detskoy knigi ‘Volshebnaya lampa’ or Московский театр детской книги «Волшебная лампа» in the centre of the city is another famous puppet location in Moscow. Established in 1989, the theatre is small, its seating capacity as low as 80. Children are seated by the administrator so that everyone can see everything. The repertoire includes a dozen performances for children aged 4 and up. The productions are based on the best children’s books: Woof the KittenRussian: Kotenok Gav or Котенок Гав, Winnie the PoohRussian: Vinni-Pukh or Винни-Пух, The Cat’s HouseRussian: Koshkin dom or Кошкин дом, and others. Children’s author talks are held regularly in the theatre lobby.
The reputed Shadow TheatreRussian: teatr ‘Ten’’ or театр «Тень» (a nine-time winner of the Golden Mask, a Russian national theatre award) is the smallest and the most unorthodox puppet theatre in Moscow. Centrally located and designed for children aged 6+, it only accommodates 5 to 7 spectators, so it is pretty difficult to get a ticket. First, you join the queue and then wait for an invitation with available performance dates, which can take about a year. Inside the theatre, there is the so-called Big Royal Lilican TheatreRussian: Bolshoy Korolevskiy Lilikanskiy teatr or Большой Королевский Лиликанский театр, a model of a real theatre where children watch the life of tiny puppets from behind the windows.
The Theatre of Puppets
The Moscow Children’s Theatre of PuppetsRussian: Moskovskiy detskiy teatr marionetok or Московский детский театр марионеток near the ProletarskayaRussian: Пролетарская metro station welcomes the youngest spectators, aged from 2 and up, as well as adults. It is famous for its special atmosphere, which is cosy and homelike. Entertainers and actors dressed as costumed characters amuse children before performances.
The Moscow Children’s Fairy Tale TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy detskiy skazochny teatr or Московский детский сказочныйтеатр, founded in 1989, is available in the centre, by the TaganskayaRussian: Таганская metro station. The repertoire is mainly comprised of fairy tales that are well-known to preschoolers and primary school children: CinderellaRussian: Zolushka or Золушка, The Frog PrincessRussian: Tsarevna-lyagushka or Царевна-лягушка, The Ugly DucklingRussian: Gadkiy utenok or Гадкий утенок, etc. The theatre is designed for children aged 4+ and has a 100-seat auditorium with modern transformer chairs.
Some puppet theatres also have stages in Moscow suburbs. The theatres themselves were founded in the early 1990s, but it’s only recently that many of them have found their home. The Albatross Puppet TheatreRussian: Teatr kukol ‘Albatros’ or Театр кукол «Альбатрос», established by a former actor of the Obraztsov Theatre is active in IzmaylovoRussian: Измайлово. The Zhar-Ptitsa (Firebird) Puppet TheatreRussian: teatr kukol ‘Zhar-ptitsa’ or театр кукол «Жар-птица» can be found in SokolnikiRussian: Сокольники. Near the Botanicheskiy SadRussian: Ботанический сад metro station, there is the Moscow Children’s Chamber Puppet TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy detskiy kamerny teatr kukol or Московский детский камерный теат ркукол. The latter probably has the lowest age restriction, allowing all children aged at least six months in. A special performance called The Little RaccoonRussian: Malen’kiy Yenot or Маленький Енот based upon the homonymous poem by Boris Zakhodera Russian poet and children's writer is staged for this audience (children aged 6–36 months). All the other productions are designed to please children aged 3 and up, just as in all the abovementioned theatres. Their repertoires include performances based on Russian and foreign fairy tales as well as famous literary works of Soviet writers.
The Theatre of Shadows
Moscow also has a unique theatre of shadows. Located in Izmaylovskoe HighwayRussian: Izmaylovskoe shosse or Измайловское шоссе, a 40-minute metro drive from the centre, it is called the Moscow Children’s Theatre of ShadowsRussian: Moskovskiy detskiy teatr teney or Московский детский театр теней. The theatre was created back in June 1944, yet its operation was interrupted for a few decades. The current repertoire has largely been designed for children aged 4 and older, but there are also performances for toddlers aged 1+. Along with classical performances, the theatre offers programs that will tell you how this special type of art developed (Theatre LessonRussian: Teatral’ny urok or Театральный урок and the excursion performance Where Shadows LiveRussian: Gde zhivut teni or Где живут тени).
CHILDREN’S DRAMA THEATRES
The Moscow Young Generation Theatre
Those aged 6 and upward have the opportunity to see real, dramatic theatre. The centrally located Moscow Young Generation Theatre (MTyuZRussian: МТЮЗ) was the main children’s theatre in Moscow for quite a long time. Only children’s plays were staged there in the Soviet times. Today, the theatre repertoire consists of 28 plays, of which only 10 are children-oriented. The plays Tin RingsRussian: Olovyannye kol’tsa or Оловянные кольца and The Golden CockerelRussian: Zolotoy petushok or Золотой петушок won professional theatre awards. There are also performances for teenagers (12+). The auditorium is designed to accommodate 603 spectators.
The Moscow Regional Young Generation Theatre
In the 1930s, the Moscow Regional Young Generation TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy Oblastnoy teatr yunogo zritelya or Московский областной театр юного зрителя was established as a branch of the MTyuZ. It is located near the TsaritsynoRussian: Царицыно metro station today. The theatre repertoire offers classical and modern plays as well as musical performances.
The Russian Academic Youth Theatre
The Russian Academic Youth Theatre (RAMTRussian: РАМТ) is another theatre originally intended for children. It is located in the centre of Moscow, close to the Bolshoi and Maly TheatresRussian: Bol’shoy i Maly teatry or Большой и Малый театры. The theatre was set up by Natalya Satsa Russian stage director who ran theaters for children for many years in 1921 and was then called the Moscow Theatre for Children (the first of its kind in the country). Today, it is promoted as the only national theatre for youth. About half of the 24 plays staged here are intended for children (6+) and teenagers (12+). Children aged 6 and older can see such plays as Deniska’s storiesRussian: Deniskiny rasskazy or Денискины рассказы, Dunno’s StoriesRussian: Neznaykiny rasskazy or Незнайкины рассказы, or The Adventures of Tom SawyerRussian: Priklyucheniya Toma Soyera or Приключения Тома Сойера. Teenagers can see Scarlet SailsRussian: Alye parusa or Алые паруса, The MusketeersRussian: Mushketery or Мушкетеры, etc. The auditorium seats 720.
Teatrium near Serpukhovskaya, headed by Tereza DurovaRussian: Teatrium na Serpuhovke pod rukovodstvom Terezy Durovoy or Театриум на Серпуховке под руководством Терезы Дуровой, is pretty popular among Muscovites. This theatre was founded in 1991 as the Clown TheatreRussian: Teatr klounady or Театр клоунады, which was perfectly in line with the idea behind its conception, as it mostly staged comedies. The current repertoire includes classic children’s books and some exotic literary works: The Twelve MonthsRussian: Dvenadtsat’ mesyatsev or Двенадцать месяцев, The Prince and the PauperRussian: Prints i nishchiy or Принц и нищий, The Flying ShipRussian: Letuchiy korabl’ or Летучий корабль, and others. Teatrium offers performances for children aged 6 and up. The theatre has two stages, one with a 1000-seat auditorium and the other with a 130-seat auditorium. Children are entertained before performances. Teatrium is the founder of Gavrosh, the International Theatre Festival of Performances for ChildrenRussian: Mezhdunarodnyi festival spektakley dlya detey «Gavrosh» or Международный фестиваль спектаклей для детей «Гаврош».
The Children’s Music and Drama Theatre
The A–Z Children’s Music and Drama TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy detskiy muzykal’ny teatr A-Ya or Московский детский музыкальный театр А-Я is situated in the centre of the capital, near ChekhovskayaRussian: Чеховская. Created in 1990, it now offers a repertoire of 20 productions: plays based on fairy tales of different cultures as well as national/foreign classics that are part of the school syllabus. This is where you can see Woe from WitRussian: Gore ot uma or Горе от ума and The Government InspectorRussian: Revizor or Ревизор. However, the auditorium is rather small and only accommodates 80 people.
The Funny Bell House Children’s Theatre
The Funny Bell House Children’s TheatreRussian: Detskiy teatr ‘Domik Fanni Bell’ or Детский театр «Домик Фанни Белл» in Bauman GardenRussian: sad imeni N. E. Baumana or сад имени Н. Э. Баумана, about a 30-minute metro ride from the city centre, is becoming increasingly popular among Muscovites. It is famous for its performances for toddlers aged between 1 and 3 years. Yet, this is only one side of the repertoire as most productions are designed for children aged between 4 and 8. A variety of genres is offered: puppetry, interactive performances, musical plays, and even culinary storytelling. The theatre is designed in the chamber type, with a seating capacity of 50.
MUSICAL THEATRES FOR CHILDREN
The Natalya Sats Musical Theatre
The Natalya Sats Musical Theatre in Vernadsky AvenueRussian: prospect Vernadskogo or проспект Вернадского is the first professional theatre of opera, ballet and symphonic music for kids. This is where you can see wonderful adaptations of opera and ballet classics for little spectators as well as authentic performances. The latter include the famous BluebirdRussian: Sinyaya ptitsa or Синяя птица, the theatre’s hallmark play. The Big and Small Auditoriums accommodate 1100 and 320 people, respectively.
The Musical Theatre of Gennady Chikhachev
The Musical Theatre under the Direction of Gennady ChikhachevRussian: Muzykal’ny teatr pod rukovodstvom Gennadiya Chikhacheva or Музыкальный театр под руководством Геннадия Чихачева in KuzminkiRussian: Кузьминки, Ryazansky ProspektRussian: Рязанский проспект metro station, is rightly beloved by Muscovites. It offers such performances as Sadko and the Sea PrincessRussian: Sadko i morskaya tsarevna or Садко и морская царевна, The Mushroom TurmoilRussian: Gribnoy perepolokh or Грибной переполох, How Nightingale the Robber Helped IvanRussian: Kak Solovey-razboynik Ivanu pomog or Как Соловей-разбойник Ивану помог, The Wolf and the Seven Little GoatsRussian: Volk i semero kozlyat or Волк и семеро козлят, Cinderella, KolobokRussian: Колобок, and many other good plays. All in all, the repertoire covers 17 musical performances, operettas and musicals for children. The theatre also holds New Year’s Eve performances. The auditorium seats up to 94 people.
Both the Sats Theatre and the Chikhachev Theatre are located far from the centre of Moscow, about a 30-minute metro ride.
The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre
The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of MoscowRussian: Moskovskiy teatr Novaya Opera im. Y. V. Kolobova or Московский театр Новая Опера им. Е. В. Колобова near TverskayaRussian: Тверская is also worth mentioning. Some great children’s plays, like Peter and the WolfRussian: Petya i volk or Петя и волк, The Ugly Duckling, and The Snow MaidenRussian: Snegurochka or Снегурочка, can be found on its repertoire.
CHILDREN’S PERFORMANCES IN ‘ADULT’ DRAMA THEATRES
Children’s performances are staged in a number of Moscow drama theatres today. The widest choice is probably offered by the Commonwealth of Taganka Actors TheatreRussian: Sodruzhestvo akterov Taganki or Содружество актеров Таганки, which rotates through about a dozen performances for children aged 4 and older: The Little Lion’s AdventuresRussian: Priklyucheniya L’venka or Приключения Львенка, The Scarlet FlowerRussian: Tsvetok alen’kiy or Цветок аленький, Cipollino, etc. The Moscow Provincial TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy gubernskiy teatr of Московский губернский театр also has a lot of children’s productions (accounting for nearly half of the repertoire). Great popularity is enjoyed by such performances as Peter PanRussian: Piter Pen or Питер Пэн, Puss in BootsRussian: Kot v sapogakh or Кот в сапогах, and The Tale of Tsar SaltanRussian: Skazka o tsare Saltane or Сказка о царе Салтане in the Vakhtangov TheatreRussian: Teatr imeni Y. B. Vakhtangova or Театр им. Е. Б. Вахтангова, The Little Humpbacked HorseRussian: Konek-Gorbunok or Конек-Горбунок in the Moscow Art TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy khudozhestvenny teatr im. A. P. Chekhova or Московский художественный театр им. Чехова. The Maxim Gorky Moscow Art Academic TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy Khudozhestvenny Akademicheskiy teatr im. M. Gorkogo or Московский Художественный Академический театр им. М. Горького offers Bluebird, the earliest children’s performance, first directed by the famous Konstantin Stanislavski in 1908. The Moscow Academic Theatre of SatireRussian: Moskovskiy akademicheskiy teatr satiry or Московский академический театр сатиры also has a long-living performance of its own (staged for 40 years now), which is Junior and KarlsonRussian: Malysh i Karlson or Малыш и Карлсон. This play became the basis for the 1969 film about the short man with a propeller on his back. Children’s performances are also offered by the Pyotr Fomenko Workshop TheatreRussian: Masterskaya Petra Fomenko or Мастерская Петра Фоменко, the Theatre of NationsRussian: Teatr natsiy or Театр наций, the Lenkom TheatreRussian: Ленком, the Armen Dzhigarkhanyan TheatreRussian: Teatr Armena Dzhigarkhanyana or Театр Армена Джигарханяна, the Theatre in the SouthwestRussian: Teatr na Yugo-Zapade or Театр на Юго-Западе, the Mayakovsky TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy akademicheskiy teatr im. Vl. Mayakovskogo or Московский академический театрим. Вл. Маяковского, the Pushkin TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy dramaticheskiy teatr im. A. S. Pushkina or Московский драматический театр им. А. С. Пушкина, the Russian Drama TheatreRussian: Teatr russkoy dramy or Театр русской драмы, the Sfera (Sphere) TheatreRussian: театр «Сфера», the Et Cetera Theatre, the U Nikitskikh Vorot (By the Nikitskie Gate) TheatreRussian: театр «У Никитских ворот», the New Art TheatreRussian: Novy Art Teatr or Новый Арт Театр, and others. There is also an Orthodox theatre in Moscow called the Glas Russian Spiritual TheatreRussian: Russkiy dukhovny teatr ‘Glas’ or Русский духовный театр «Глас». This is probably the best place to see a Christmas performance. In addition, This is the Baby Christ HimselfRussian: Eto sam Khristos-malyutka or Это сам Христос-малютка is staged here. You should be aware of the Kurazh Moscow TheatreRussian: teatr ‘Kurazh’ or театр «Кураж» near the Moscow Kurskaya railway stationRussian: Kurskiy vokzal or Курский вокзал. It offers interactive performances for children aged 3+, where even pillow fights take place.
The Durov Animal Theatre
The Durov Animal TheatreRussian: Teatr zverey imeni Durova or Театр зверейимени Дурова, or Grandpa Durov’s CornerRussian: ‘Ugolok dedushki Durova’ or «Уголок дедушки Дурова» is the only animal theatre in the world. This is where children can actually see performances with animals playing roles. The productions are designed for children aged 36 or 18 months and upward. Many of them are based on famous fairy tales. The actors include elephants, hippos, sea lions, tigers, bears, and smaller animals. The most outstanding performance is called A Century-Long RoadRussian: Doroga - dlinoyu v vek or Дорога длиною в век, launched to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the theatre. The Mouse Railway ShowRussian: Myishinaya zheleznaya doroga or Мышиная железная дорога is also of great interest. The theatre is situated in the centre of Moscow.
The Kuklachev Cats Theatre
Another Moscow theatre with four-legged actors is the Kuklachev Cats TheatreRussian: Teatr koshek Yuriya Kuklacheva or Театр кошек Юрия Куклачева. Yuri Kuklachev was the first to get on the right side of cats to stage performances with their participation. The maestro is most often on tour nowadays, his son Dmitry being in charge of cat performances. You will find this theatre in Kutuzovsky AvenueRussian: Kutuzovskiy prospect or Кутузовский проспект, close to the Poklonnaya HillRussian: Poklonnaya gora or Поклонная гора.
Famous CIRCUSES for children in Moscow
Three circuses are available in Moscow today. The Nikulin Circus, the oldest one, was opened as far back as in 1880. The most renowned artists of their times have performed here, including clowns, illusionists, acrobats, and animal trainers. Everyone has heard of Oleg Popova Soviet and Russian clown and circus artist, Karandash (Mikhail Rumyantseva famous Soviet clown, a People's Artist of the USSR, and a teacher of the famous Russian clowns Oleg Popov and Yuri Nikulin<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
’s stage name), and Yuri Nikulin. The latter was in charge of the circus for 14 years. Today, his son Maxim Nikulin is the one who keeps the ball rolling. The performers are highly diverse: acrobats, equilibrists, trapeze artists, clowns, and trained animals, such as dogs, cats, monkeys, bears, tigers, elephants, etc. A new programme is designed every six months, each artist performing only once in three years. The circus can seat 2000 people. Performances are held at 2.30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends (sometimes at 11 a.m. as well) and at 7 p.m. on weekdays.
The Moscow State Circus
The Moscow State Circus in Vernadsky Avenue is the largest circus building in Europe with a seating capacity of 3310. The circus was founded in 1971. It is a national theatre and is headed by the Zapashny brothersrepresentatives of the circus dynasty Zapashny in the fourth generation. A large-scale two-year renovation was completed at the end of 2015. The programs include thrilling performances by highly professional acrobats and trapeze artists, a sea lion show, and dangerous tricks performed by Siberian tigers and African lions. Each season is started with a new program that lasts until December, when New Year’s Eve specials are advertised. During the New Year holidays, the circus also performs at the Luzhniki StadiumRussian: stadion Luzhniki or стадион Лужники. Performances are held at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends and at 7 p.m. on weekdays.
The Dancing Fountains Circus
Aquamarine, the Dancing Fountains CircusRussian: Tsirk tantsuyushchikh fontanov ‘Akvamarin’ or Цирк танцующих фонтанов «Аквамарин» near the Proletarskaya metro station has been active since 2009. The stage of this circus is astoundingly flexible, sometimes serving as an ice rink and sometimes splashing with multicoloured fountains to provide a background for performers. The latter include traditional clowns, conjurors, acrobats, dancers, equilibrists, tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, and trained animals (dogs, cats, etc.). Children’s entertainers are available half an hour before the performance as well as during the intervals to amuse kids, who can take a ride in a miniature steam locomotive. Each season is started with a different program of performances.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com